Nuclear waste shipment enters Germany

DANNENBERG, Germany — A shipment of nuclear waste reprocessed in France crossed into Germany Friday on its way to a controversial storage site that protesters say is unsafe.

By (AP)

Published: Fri 25 Nov 2011, 7:21 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 12:25 AM

The train carrying the annual shipment entered western Germany in the morning after delays in France, where activists damaged railtracks in an attempt to halt the cargo.

It is the first such shipment from France to Germany since Berlin decided to shut all its nuclear plants by 2022, following the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima plant.

Police said fewer demonstrators were anticipated this year due to Berlin’s decision, but 20,000 officers were still on hand to secure the shipment to a storage facility in Gorleben in northern Germany, near the town of Dannenberg.

“The police do expect protests, but against the backdrop of the changed political situation we expect them to be smaller than last year,” said police spokesman Markus Scharf.

Officials are yet to resolve where such waste should be stored permanently — and activists argue the site in Gorleben is unsafe.

German police used water cannons late Thursday night as protesters tried to block a crossroads at Metzingen, near the shipment’s destination after fireworks and paint were thrown at officers.

In France, riot police on Wednesday fired tear gas at anti-nuclear protesters in a Normandy field, while activists damaged a railway which delayed the train’s departure.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy insisted Friday that it would be “crazy” to reduce his country’s high reliance on nuclear power.

While other countries renounce atomic energy in Fukushima’s aftermath, France has remained a bastion of nuclear power. France depends on it for three-quarters of its electricity, more than any other country.

Sarkozy, who is expected to seek re-election in April, argued that abandoning nuclear energy would destroy jobs.

More news from WORLD